Here in San Diego, there’s no shortage of ways for a divorcing spouse to spend away all of the couple’s assets during a divorce, if he or she really wanted to. Thankfully for the other spouse or domestic partner, one important way that California deals with this concern is with “automatic temporary restraining orders.”
An automatic temporary restraining order (ATRO) sets out many ground rules that both spouses have to comply with during the divorce process, known as “dissolution of marriage” in California. For the spouse who begins the divorce, the ATROs are effective when the divorce papers are filed in court. For the spouse responding to the divorce, the order goes into effect once the divorce papers are served.
Examples of How You’re Protected During the Divorce
Once a divorce is pending, you and your spouse will have to notify one another before any unusual spending, and be ready to account for these expenditures to the court. Here are a few examples of things you and your spouse can’t do without permission:
● Sell property or create liens on it (such as by using your house as collateral to buy another property). This rule even applies to your individually-owned separate property. There might be an exception if your actions are in the usual course of business or for the necessities of life.
● Change beneficiaries on your insurance and other coverage, borrow against or cash it, or cancel the coverage altogether.
● Hide assets, such as by hiding money in a foreign bank account.
● Take the children out of state.
You’re both subject to the rules of the ATROs. The only way around these restrictions is to get the court’s permission or the other spouse’s written consent. A spouse who violates any of these mandatory orders can potentially be jailed for contempt of court.
Automatic TROs are Not the Only Rules You Have to Follow
As your divorce attorneys, we’ll explain ATROs and your additional responsibilities, both before and during the divorce. By being aware of these responsibilities, you can avoid many pitfalls that can jeopardize your position in divorce proceedings.
Depending on your situation, you may need to ask for additional court orders. Learn more in the next family law post about what else can be done to protect your family and financial well being.
We’re here to provide you with the guidance you need to get through your divorce. Our family law attorneys can request modification of an order when needed, or assist with violations of temporary restraining orders and penalties. With so much at stake, get things done the right way from the start. Contact Minella Law Group’s skilled divorce lawyers at (619) 289-7948.